On Saturday I wrote about my fears as I prepared to run the Rock ’n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon, after coming back from an injury a few months ago. I started running, in 30 second bursts, on February 28th, building up to 10k by the end of March. (I’d already been working on building my fitness by cycling and swimming.) Once I’d hit that distance I was fairly sure I could be marathon ready by the time Liverpool came around, and it pretty much worked.
I’d been lucky enough to stay in a hotel right next to the Echo Arena, which was home to the baggage drop, toilets and next to the start line. I set off just after nine and dropped my bag then headed to the toilets – the men’s had a queue outside, the women’s didn’t! Maybe it’s me getting older, but this is a great plus of the Liverpool Marathon, you don’t need to queue, you get to use proper flushing toilets and then wash your hands with soap in hot running water afterwards!
I made my way to the back of the 3:30 corral and began to feel quite emotional, a bit teary even. Then, the countdown began and the first wave went off. Just a couple of minutes later and it was our turn. I like the staggered start here, it means you have space to run from the very beginning and can quickly settle into your pace, without dodging other runners.
The first couple of miles were mostly spent pulling my running shorts up as the weight of the gels in the back pocket was pulling them down. I did consider chucking them, but after a bit my sweat seemed to act as a glue to hold them up!
I tried not to look at my Garmin too much and got on with enjoying the race. There are some great views across the city to be had on the way round and I enjoyed revisiting some familiar places, although I couldn’t help myself going past Goodison Park and booed (in my head) the giant posters of the Everton players hanging up outside.
After covering about 10 miles on the north side of the city, we headed back down to the seafront and out to the south side. It was around the 10 mile mark that I saw my family. It never ceases to surprise me just how much of a lift seeing your supporters is. It definitely put an extra spring in my step.
There are a few decent climbs on the route, but it is mostly flat, especially when you hit the last four miles along the promenade. At that point I was willing the clouds to keep hiding the sun as while it’s great to be running alongside the Mersey, there is no shade and in the heat it can be brutal.
You turn off the promenade briefly just before you hit mile 26, then turn a corner and the finish line is ahead of you. At this point, I was so happy that I’d done it, I kicked on and sped towards the finish line, ending with a big smile on my face. I looked up to see my family just after the line and went over to celebrate with them. My time was 3:31:05, which I was happy with!
I’ve really enjoyed the Liverpool Marathon both times I’ve done it, the live music, the course, the incredibly heavy medal and the T-shirt. It’s well organised and well supported. Thank you to everyone who helped, shouted my name and high fived on the way round. I’ll definitely be back for another encore next year (in fact I’ve already booked).